Here are five conflict resolution techniques that work.
Conflict management is the least favorite job of leaders and understandably so. It is always difficult to deal with clashes in priorities and personalities. However, applying appropriate conflict management exercises can turn the worst conflicts into great opportunities for growth.
Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics. ~Darryl Anka – often misattributed to Albert Einstein
Conflict Resolution Techniques
There are various ways to resolve conflict:
When the issue is not as important to one party that it is to the other, accommodating the concern of the latter will resolve the conflict immediately. This technique is best resorted to when a deadlock is more costly than sacrificing the position of one party is. The good thing with accommodation is that it provides a quick relief while you buy time planning a more final solution.
The downside is that the “winning” party might construe the accommodation as lack of strength on management and will try to abuse this. Observers might see this as lack of decisiveness and control against aggression which will diminish their respect for your authority. When resorting to accommodation, you must make your intensions clear. Everyone should understand the necessity for the decision so they retain respect.
2. Forcing The Issue
This is resorted to when the situation is critical and you need to enforce core values of the company. Also termed as competing, it requires one party to aggressively push his views at the expense of the opposition. The good thing with forcing is it provides a quick response to resolve the conflict. It sends the message that you are decisive and steadfast. To some this is a sign of leadership but others may take it as insensitivity. This can also be very exhausting and creates more ill feelings.
3. Withdrawal or Avoidance
Avoiding the conflict or brushing it off can dissipate the tension in certain circumstances. Withdrawal works when the situation is less pressing and you need your energy focused on some other more crucial issues. It buys you time to consider more options or wait for time to unravel some of the dynamics of the conflict.
The downside of withdrawal is that it will always be seen as a sign of weakness. There is also no solution achieved which means that the conflict will continue to fester despite the temporary ceasefire.
Many managers prefer this technique because it allows everyone to feel that they had “won” albeit only partially. A compromise works because it satisfies both parties desires without resorting to forced decisions. It is practical when there is a need for immediate conflict resolution and both parties are too attached to their views to give in.
Collaboration is often seen as the most ideal solution to a conflict although it is not practicable all of the time and requires a great deal of skill. Collaborating is termed as finding a “win-win” solution by focusing on the mutual benefits of all parties concerned.
Collaboration provides a long term and sustainable solution to conflicts but often requires time for planning, deliberation, and negotiation. As such, it might not be practicable when situations call for immediate actions.
Trust The Experts
Conflict management is a critical task required of all leaders. It is important that you are familiar with the various conflict resolution techniques and are able to get sufficient practice to hone your skills. Our Conflict Management workshop provides real-world activities to test and enhance your skills and to help ensure that you are able to make the right decision when you’re called upon to defuse a tense situation.